Israel’s largest private equity firm, FIMI Opportunity Funds, agreed to acquire 50% of Israel-based Unitronics Industrial Automation Ltd. (EuroNM: UNITB; TASE: UNIT), a leading global provider of industrial automation systems, automated warehouses and automated parking solutions, for NIS 110 million ($28.5 million).
FIMI’s acquisition will be at a share price of NIS 16, reflecting a 30% premium over the company’s market price. Unitronics chairman and CEO Haim Shani will keep a 22% stake, and will continue as its CEO. Only NIS 60 million ($16.56 million) will be invested by FIMI into the company, Globes reported. The balance will presumably be allocated by FIMI to buy shares from existing shareholders. According to the latest shareholder structure disclosed on the website of Unitronics, Shani previously held 61.38% of the company’s shares.
Last month, FIMI raised $1.1 billion for its sixth investment fund, the largest amount ever raised by an Israeli investment fund. The strategy and purpose of FIMI Fund 6 will continue the strategy of our other funds, is “to strengthen Israeli companies and enable them to compete better in global markets,” said FIMI’s CEO Ishay Davidi.
The move follows the recent completion by the company’s U.S. subsidiary, Unitronics Systems Inc., of a 373-space garage at a 12-story, 212-unit residential mixed-use ground-up development at 1415 Park Avenue, Hoboken, N.J. In that project, Unitronics was able to condense a 10-story conventional parking garage into four stories, allowing for more rentable and community space. The company previously completed two other new-generation parking garages in Hoboken at 916 Garden St. and 900 Monroe St., as well as one at City Hall in West Hollywood, Calif. and another one in Mexico.
Earlier this month, Unitronics announced an agreement to provide a $4.5 million, 326-space Automated Vehicle Storage and Retrieval System (AVSRS), slated for completion in 2017, at 320 Adolphus Avenue, a luxury ground-up development, in Cliffside Park, N.J.
In march 2015, Unitronics said it signed a $24 million binding letter of intent with Canada’s Prestige Properties Corp. (formerly Prestige Hospitality Corp.) to build the largest automated car park in North America, for 1,400 vehicles in Calgary, Canada.
“Our automated parking system allows architects and developers to preserve more room for retail or rentable space, while also making the development more attractive overall,” said Yair Goldberg, CEO of Unitronics Systems. “In this particular case, adding an automated parking system instead of a conventional parking garage allowed the design team to work with the location – perched on the edge of a cliff – to incorporate more of the natural space around the building to increase aesthetics and add character.”
Unitronics’ automated parking systems provide architects and developers the ability to construct more efficient and eco-conscious buildings and parking facilities. Automated parking designs can provide double or even triple the number of spaces that a conventional garage can accommodate while freeing up valuable rentable space, enabling high-density parking and eliminating the need for ramps.
The state-of-the-art, high-density system maximizes parking spaces while minimizing environmental impact, using an array of horizontal and vertical conveyance devices and software designed to enable automated and efficient storage and retrieval of cars.
“Unitronics fits in well with FIMI’s investment strategy: it has unique products and solutions, export-oriented sales, proven experience, and growth engines,” said FIMI senior partner Gillon Beck.
“We’re confident that Unitronics will benefit from FIMI’s vast experience in improving companies and increasing their value,” said Shani, as reported by Globes. “Cooperation between FIMI and the company will provide us with the momentum needed to continue developing our growth engines in automated parking solutions and programmed controllers and consolidate Unitronics’ status as a global leader in its field.”
Established in 1989, Unitronics specializes in the development of automated parking solutions, automated storage and logistics systems, and PLCs for industrial automation. Unitronics’ solutions are designed to create an enhanced interaction between people and machines, utilizing user-friendly visual interfaces, as well as, enabling remote management employing the latest technologies. Unitronics’ international distribution network includes 140 distributors and sales offices worldwide. Unitronics calls upon decades of experience in the automated solutions industry, bringing an industrial, compact and cost-efficient approach to automobile parking. The company is headquartered in Airport City, near Ben Gurion Airport in Israel.
Tel Aviv-based FIMI is the leading private equity firm in Israel with more than $2 billion in assets under management. Since its founding by Ishay Davidi in 1996, FIMI has successfully completed 80 investments, executed 51 exits, and raised six funds.